Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tracking the man behind this Curtin.

For the first time in my life, I can now state with relative certainty where my Irish ancestors dwelled. The results of a DNA test I took months ago which I finally received show that, in the words of Australian Margaret Curtain, a Curtin family expert, "your family lines is from the Curtin Corner area -- where Kerry, Cork, and Limerick meet." It was that region or Cork, I'd figured for years, but it's nice to know. Also, that "Curtin's Corner" designation, aside from being pretty neat, reminds me of something.*

I think I've told the story before about my grandfather Denis Curtin and my inability to trace his life prior to his arrival on these shores. Knowing which part of the old country he came from is a major leap forward my my quest, but also probably the final dead end. Everything I know about Denis (he died when my father was 11 years old and seems not to have very active in his life; his wife, my grandmother, died shortly after my father's birth and he and his older sister were raised by relatives on a farm outside Kennett Square which is still in the family) indicates that he was one of four brothers, two of whom emigrated, or were shipped off, to Australia and one who came to the U.S. with him but later also moved to Australia. There appears to be no record of any Curtin family in Ireland in the proper time frame which had four sons, one of them named Denis and the other Jerry (probably Jeremiah), the name of the brother who came to this country with him.

The DNA stuff is fascinating. I have 33 and 17 exact matches in the two broadest categories which reflect really "distant" cousins, i.e., several hundred years in the past. In the two more informative markers, I have three matches which would indicate a common ancestor somewhere in the 300 year range. I can expand the search as well or take advantage of a new test (at some cost) which could pinpoint more recent connections. For all of these people, and about 50 more, I have email addresses if I want to make contact.

We'll see. For now, I have signed on (again, I was a member years ago) with The Curtin Clan and may join them at their annual gathering in Chicago next June.
*I really need to get this website up and running again; consider it a New Year's resolution.

No comments:

Post a Comment